I’m Ken. I grew up in California, in a Christian home, attending a Baptist church. I was a Jesus and Bible believer all growing up. I always wondered what the deal was with so many religions, and especially so many Christian churches, all with various beliefs. I was a “know it all” kid, or thought I did anyway. Reading and research have been a big part of my life since I was young. When I would get in trouble, as punishment, my Mom would pick a random encyclopedia book, and tell me to find something that interested me and then write a paper on it and then teach her about it. This was never punishment to me. Even when I wasn’t in trouble I was often reading, trying to learn everything about everything. History was always my favorite subject, and ancient civilizations.
When I was 17, in 1998, my family and I joined the LDS church. I thought that I had finally found the truth. There was something so drawing and intriguing about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. While the missionaries were teaching us the discussions, I was often interrupting with questions. I had to know every detail, and had to have scripture references to each and every thing they were saying. I was probably one of the few people who read the entire Book of Mormon and most of the Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price before getting baptized.
Immediately after getting baptized I felt strongly about going on a mission. I thought though that I was 17 years behind everyone else. So from the moment after getting baptized until I was 19, I read and read and read, and studied anything and everything I could get my hands on. Church history was something I felt I had to know every detail about. As well as becoming as familiar as I could with the scriptures.
I went on my mission to Toronto, Canada from 2000-2002. It was a huge eye-opener. The first thing that was surprising was that so many fellow missionaries knew close to nothing about church history, and most had not even read the entire Book of Mormon even once. The other shocking thing to me was so called personal revelation. Most would make decisions, or do certain things, based on “revelation” they felt they were getting. All I knew was I wasn’t getting this revelation. I thought for a long time that something must be wrong with me. Combine this with the fact that I never taught a single person, let alone baptized anyone. Again, I thought something must be wrong with me, or somehow I was not worthy enough.
Once I returned home, my intense reading and studying only became stronger. My Mom, unbeknownst to me, had signed me up to attend BYU. I was only home 2 weeks before I had to leave to go to Utah to start. I only lasted one semester. Not because I couldn’t handle the school work. It was because it felt like complete culture shock. I had nothing in common with anyone. If I wasn’t in class I was at the library until it closed, reading and photo copying as much as I could. My roommate and others in my dorm, however, were constantly playing video games, or trying to date. None were even remotely interested in anything related to church, the scriptures, or church history.
I took the next semester off, and lived in an apartment in Nephi, UT with a former mission companion. Six months later I moved to Ephraim, UT and attended Snow College. This was a much better experience than BYU. I was still heavy into church history. My interest was mainly reading various church leaders’ diaries and journals.
While attending Snow College I dated a girl, and we got married in 2004 in the Manti, UT temple. I took it way too serious, and was firmly indoctrinated into the idea of eternal sealing, and a forever family.
In 2005 I worked at the Church Office Building, moving furniture in and out of offices during remodeling. This was an extremely eye-opening experience as well. I got to see and interact with numerous general authorities and other directors and managers of various church departments. It was eye-opening because I got to see firsthand how they behaved one way during general conference or at church, and a completely different way during their day-to-day life. I have stories from this time, which would take up too much room to write about here.
In late 2005, or early 2006, my wife became pregnant, but miscarried after about 10 weeks. This was devastating, to both of us. We then started to drift apart. I started doing more research, and compiling a documentary history of the Council of Fifty. This entailed numerous trips to the LDS church archives (this was before the new church history library was built), and numerous University libraries. I often became frustrated that so many materials I wanted access to were “restricted,” meaning not available to see. I couldn’t understand why on earth the church would restrict certain things. In most cases I found a work around. In the 1970’s and 80’s a lot of researchers and historians photo copied or transcribed a lot of material. So I’d hunt down these photo copies or transcripts and use those for my compilation. In 2008 I finished my annotated compilation, and made the naïve mistake of selling the manuscript to a book publisher. They eventually published the book with a different person as the author. (Here’s a link to the published version of my book https://www.amazon.com/Council-Fifty-Documentary-History/dp/1560852240)
While I was doing my research and compilation I would also spend time researching and studying other material which interested me. Again, it became an eye-opening experience. I’d often read firsthand accounts of events which didn’t quite jive with the version taught at church. Or, hearing a story told in church or read in church publications and then researching the sources, and come to find out that they were second, third, or fourth hand accounts by people who were not even there. This bothered me as a student of history.
I eventually became disillusioned with the church. There were a few things that when combined together contributed to my leaving. The first was reading the Reed Smoot hearings. He was an LDS apostle who became elected as a U.S. Senator, and the Senate held hearings to determine if his position in the church made him ineligible to serve as a Senator. The next was reading the Temple Lot Case. In the 1890’s, the Reorganized LDS church filed suit against the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) over legal ownership to lands in Independence, Missouri. The final straw for me was when it was announced that the LDS church was building and financing the City Creek Center (a shopping mall) in Salt Lake City, Utah, to the tune of multiple billions of dollars. How could “God’s true church” spend multiple billions of dollars on a shopping mall, while people were struggling and living in poverty?
While my marriage was falling apart, and while I was having a spiritual crisis, I handled it in the worse way; by abusing pills and smoking marijuana. This only caused more marital problems. Eventually she left me, and we were divorced in early 2009.
As I was getting divorced in 2009, my best friend at the time and former mission companion had found The Sealed Portion (https://www.realilluminati.org/the-sealed-portion) and the Sacred, not Secret (https://www.realilluminati.org/sacred-not-secret) books online and shared them with me. I was very skeptical at first. I had read the other supposed sealed portions that are out there, and thought that this was going to be another like them, complete gibberish that didn’t make a lick of sense. But then I actually read it. From then, 2009, to now, I have become completely enthralled and entrenched with the Marvelous Work and a Wonder (https://www.realilluminati.org/) and The Humanity Party (https://www.humanityparty.com/), reading all the books (https://www.realilluminati.org/books) and online blog posts numerous times, and listening to all the shows I know about or get access to. They have completely changed the way I think and act.
In 2011-2012 I assisted, with several others, to add endnotes to the Joseph Smith biography, Without Disclosing My True Identity (https://www.realilluminati.org/without-disclosing-my-true-identity). It felt at the time that finally all the reading and research I had done in the past could be put to some good use.
Numerous times through these years I have been humbled by Christopher’s sharp sickle. Deservingly so. My ego needed and probably still needs to be cast out. I appreciate this more than I can express with words. It hurts sometimes, yes. But it is always always always the truth.
My favorite book to read has been the rough draft to The Dream of Mortal Life (https://www.realilluminati.org/dream-of-mortal-life). This book has completely and forever changed the way I think, and given me an awesome new perspective to consider. I also very much enjoyed reading The True History of Religion (https://www.realilluminati.org/the-true-history-of-religion) and Pentateuch Illuminated (https://www.realilluminati.org/pentateuch-illuminated).
There are 2 positive and profound (to me) changes I made in my life since learning of the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
First I'd say is truly coming to grips with, and accepting and admitting that truly I know nothing. In fact, the only thing, besides knowing that I exist, that I can say for a certainty is that I know nothing. That may not sound positive, but for me it for sure is positive. Prior to learning about the Marvelous Work and a Wonder, I was arrogant enough to say and think that I "knew" many things. This I have come to realize was self delusion. I have learned 'about' many things. But do I 'know' them? Nope, not in the slightest.
The second positive and profound change has been, and I'm sure will continue to be, in how I treat other people. As I said, I was and can be an arrogant and pedantic ass. This leads to mistreatment or intolerance of others. And boy was I guilty of both! I still have work to do in this department. But I am and have been learning, through the Marvelous Work and a Wonder, how to treat others the way THEY want to be treated. Or, viewing each life experience as me being a participant in THEIR world. And not as me trying to control and manipulate others to be in MY world.
Anyways, those 2 I'd say are the biggest positives and profound changes I have made and am still making.